by Kevin Burton
Researching material for this Valentine’s Day post has been a labor of love.
See what I did there?
It gets better though kids, because I got some help from Good Housekeeping magazine. GH had a lot to say about Valentine’s Day in an article written by Amanda Hawkins and Hannah Jeon and sent to me by my all-time bestest and most fa-vor-ite angel baby sweetiekins valentine, Jeannette Burton!
We don’t have time for all 22 of GH’s fascinating Valentine’s Day facts, nor do we find them all fascinating. But let’s get started and see how far we get.
You know those hard little candy hearts with messages like “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me” on them? There is a name for them. They are called Conversation Hearts.
Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that made medical lozenges and then he founded the New England Confectionery Company, or Necco, GH reported
“It was Oliver’s brother, Daniel Chase, who started printing sentimental messages on the Necco sweethearts, though these candies were bigger than the versions we have today,” according to GH.
These candies are OK. But if you are getting candy for Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t you really rather have those solid chocolates, or maybe chocolate with cream or nuts inside?
It could be that mainly school children are exchanging these Conversation Hearts. Somebody is sure buying them, according to GH.
“Necco has to start making them just days after Feb. 14 to have enough in time for the next Valentine’s Day,” the magazine reported. “That’s almost 100,000 pounds per day! Each box has approximately 45 sayings, including ‘True Love,’ ‘Hug Me’ and ‘You Rock,’ but you can personalize your own, too.”
Now that’s what I’m talking about, personalized Conversation Hearts.
As we all know, not every romance is of the happily-ever-after variety. Would there not be a market for hearts that said “Fat Chance,” “Bad Breath,” “Take A Bath” or “Move Out”? Could we at least get a focus group to research this?
The article says these candies have a shelf life of five years. If so, they last about 60 percent as long as the average marriage, which lasts 8.2 years.
According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent more than $20 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts in 2019 and were expected to spend a record-breaking $27.4 billion in 2020, including $2.4 billion on candy alone, GH reported. “People also expected to spend an average of approximately $196 for Valentine’s Day, with men spending around $291 compared to women spending $106.”
According to Hallmark, a whopping 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every Feb. 14, making Valentine’s Day the second biggest holiday for exchanging greeting cards, after Christmas. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards annually, followed by children, mothers and wives.
Thirty-Six percent of respondents to a survey by www.chillisauce.com voted Valentine’s Day as the best day to propose marriage. They estimate six million couples got engaged on Feb. 14.
“Many Latin American countries know the holiday as el día de los enamorados (day of lovers) or día del amor y la amistad (day of love and friendship),” GH reports. “Though couples exchange flowers and chocolate on this day, the holiday’s focus is also directed at showing gratitude to friends.”
In Japan, it’s customary for just the women to give confections to the men in their lives, with the quality of the chocolate indicating their true feelings, according to Fortune. On March 14, exactly a month later, the men repay the favor by celebrating the increasingly popular “White Day.”
Americans don’t leave their pets out of the valentines equation. About 27.6 million American households gave Valentine’s Day presents to their pet dogs in 2020, and more than 17.1 million picked up gifts for their cats. American households spent an estimated $751.3 million on gifts for their pets on Valentine’s Day, GH reported.
On the other hand, GH reports that according to a Today Show survey, only 59 percent of spouses planned to give their partner a Valentine’s Day gift.
That poll only questioned 1,500 people on the subject. That’s a small sample. I bet a much higher percentage will give one or more gifts, even if many of them will select the gifts at the last minute.